Posted in Instructional Technology

The Secret We Share

I have a secret to share. Not a really gooey, skeleton-in-the-closet secret. Sorry. Nor is this the type of secret that is locked away in a journal – far from prying eyes. This secret is a simple desire, a truly simple desire. I don’t think I am the only one with this secret. I will crack it open and we can examine the secret together. Here it is: Clone me. No really, clone me. There! It is out of the proverbial bag. That is my secret aspiration.

dollyLet me clarify. I don’t mean clone me as in Dolly-the-sheep clone. Not that I have anything against Dolly and her scientific wonder-ness. We all have our life stories. Dolly has hers. And, I certainly don’t mean clone me in that I am so awesome and clone-able. I mean clone me as in I need to be 35 of me at once to get to all of these students! Think about how tremendous a cloned teacher could be for a classroom. The conversations Avatar Teacher would finally be able to have with each individual learner. The feedback, inspiration, and cajoling that would go on daily as there would be enough of me to go around. No student would go home confused, untended to, or lost. Just clone me.

Well, I am writing to tell you, the age of educational cloning is here and it is wrapped up in technology tools for engaging learner activities. Hello beautiful technology! These clones are shaped like cell phones, tablets, white boards, video screens, and laptops. They come with accessibility gadgets and instructional designers. These clones have a pedagogical pedigree which can be traced way back through their flowcharts. These are exciting times for students and instructors alike.

Do you have the same secret? Do you need to be cloned? Here are 3 simple ideas to get you on your way to augmenting and individualizing instruction to meet the needs of all your students.

Idea One: What goes in – must come out. To process, the brain receives input, scrambles it up in the memory banks, and then retrieves it for output. Visualize this as a learning circle. Or, commonly described by the verbs: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. This learning circle left incomplete means the information is floating around in that gray matter like a lost puppy. Use technology to help. Get the students working together. Collaboration encourages completion of the learning circle as students contribute and express their ideas. They read. They write. They listen. They speak. Input is going in. Output is going out. And somewhere in-between, memory is creating files of schema for future use. There are several simple technological tools to facilitate self-expression and synthesis of information for collaboration. As the teacher, get the ball rolling and then let these clones help you. Here are 5 to get you started: Google Drive, Edmodo, Wikispaces, Twiddla, and Wiggio.

Idea Two: A building without a foundation eventually falls down. Mastery of skills means learners can participate confidently and readily. But, honestly, a workbook of drills rarely ignites the synapses. So, choose wisely the activities to fill in those learning gaps. Luckily, my clone for mastery is great at looking and functioning like an engaging game!  Two essential components for learner success is feedback and correction. The use of mastery learning programs allows extra time and individuation for learners to self-pace and practice skills until mastered. Choose programs that provide learner feedback that will guide these learners to success and self improvement. Here are four sites that encourage learners to practice those skills until mastered: Kahn Academy, Quizlet,   RazKids, and MobyMax.

Idea Three: A horse can only run as fast as it can, no matter how much you whip it. Some learners fall behind no matter how hard they try to keep up. Never fear, your clone is here! Technology saves the day. Put your PowerPoint online or post your demonstration on YouTube. Maybe make a podcast or a VoiceThread. These clones allow students to go at their own pace and revisit the information as needed.

Do we share this secret? If so, start with these three simple ideas to begin the process of cloning yourself in order to meet the needs of all your students.

Hope to be seeing a double of you soon!               

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